Stormy Daniels to attend Trump lawyer hearing over FBI search

Stormy and Cohen

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Stormy Daniels (left) says she was paid by Michael Cohen to keep quiet about an affair with Mr Trump

An adult film star who says she was paid to keep quiet about an affair with US President Donald Trump is expected to attend a hearing for his lawyer.

Michael Cohen, the president’s long-time personal attorney, is in court on Monday to argue that documents seized in an FBI raid be returned to him.

Stormy Daniels, who Mr Cohen admitted to paying $130,000 (£91,000) in 2016, also plans to attend, her lawyer says.

On Sunday, Mr Trump’s lawyers asked a judge to let him preview the files.

Mr Cohen has been ordered to attend Monday’s hearing at the US District Court in New York regarding how material seized by the FBI during a raid on his home, office, hotel room, bank safety-deposit box and phones should be handled.

The New York lawyer, who prosecutors say has been under criminal investigation for months, argues that he should be allowed to review the seized documents to see if any qualify under attorney-client confidentiality privilege.

Prosecutors say they are focusing on Michael Cohen’s business dealings rather than his work as a lawyer.

On Monday morning, Mr Cohen’s lawyers said in a statement that he had 10 clients from 2017-2018, but only offered “direct legal advice or dispute resolution” to three of them.

One client directed Mr Cohen to not name him publicly, he said, and the other two are Mr Trump and Republican fundraiser Elliot Broidy.

Last week, Mr Broidy stepped down from his position as Republican National Committee deputy finance chair after it was reported that Mr Cohen helped arrange a $1.6m settlement with a former Playboy model on behalf of the Republican fundraiser, according to a Wall Street Journal article.

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A lawyer for Ms Daniels – whose real name is Stephanie Clifford – says that she will attend the hearing in New York to “ensure that she is heard”.

“I think Monday afternoon could prove to be very interesting,” her lawyer Michael Avenatti told CNN.

Asked if her presence should be considered a provocation, he responded: “No, not at all.”

“This has nothing to do with getting into his head at all,” the lawyer said.

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Michael Cohen walked through Manhattan over the weekend

“It’s intending to send a message that this is a very, very serious matter for her, and she wants to make sure that the American people know that she’s behind efforts to bring to light as much information and documents as possible,” he added.

The president denies the alleged relationship.

On Sunday night, an attorney for Mr Trump filed papers seeking to bar the US Department of Justice from reviewing the documents seized from Mr Cohen.

One of his lawyers, Joanna Hendon, asked the court to permit Mr Cohen to have the first crack at reviewing the documents and then submit them to Mr Trump to determine if they would violate attorney-client privilege.

“Fairness and justice – as well as the appearance of fairness and justice – require that, before they are turned over to the Investigative Team, the seized materials relating to the President must be reviewed by the only person who is truly motivated to ensure that the privilege is properly invoked and applied: the privilege-holder himself, the President,” Ms Hendon wrote, the Associated Press reported.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, which is prosecuting the case, says they would prefer to use a so-called filter team to handle the documents.

A panel of prosecutors who are not associated with the case would sort out any files that are protected under attorney-client privilege and forward them to criminal investigators, the office says.

Stormy Daniels to attend Trump lawyer hearing over FBI search

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